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Descendants of slaves with TR roots to visit Hagood Mill for first time in 150+ years

Hagood Mill (Photo: James Richardson/CarolinaAerialsLLC.com) Hagood Mill (Photo: James Richardson/CarolinaAerialsLLC.com)

PICKENS, S.C. – On Sat., Aug. 12 at noon, the descendants of Berry and Caroline McKenzie will gather at Hagood Mill, where generations of their ancestors toiled and built the wealth of one of Pickens County’s prosperous families.

The visit, the families' first in 151 years, will celebrate their exodus from slavery at the mill to freedom in the community of Golden Grove in Travelers Rest, according to McKenzie family historian Aaron Mair.

"The history of Hagood Mill cannot be completely told without the narrative of enslaved families who made it thrive," Mair said, adding that the McKenzie families' deep connection to the mill is documented in Col. Benjamin Hagood's 1865 will.

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Shortly after the Civil War, the family made their exodus east, crossing the Saluda River and settled in their “new Jerusalem” community of Golden Grove, located near Hwy. 25 and U.S. 11 north of town.

The McKenzie, Green, and Cox families pooled their resources, farms, and land to set up a school, church, grist and lumber mill in the area.   

After a tour of the Hagood Mill site on Saturday, the McKenzie family will travel to Cold Springs Church and to the Hagood family cemetery to pray and lay flowers on the graves of slaves in honor of Berry and Caroline McKenzie , who are believed to be buried in one of the plots.

Hagood mill is located at 138 Hagood Mill Rd. in Pickens. Learn more about the mill at the Pickens County website here.

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